NEWS 19 January 2022 |

For ocean-lovers, the new year isn’t just a fresh start and warmer seas. It marks the approach of another chance to witness the spectacular migration of Giant Spider Crabs into Port Phillip Bay.

As the crabs sense the change in seasons and prepare for their journey, there have been movements on land in preparation for their arrival.

Recreational fishers will only be able to take 15 Spider Crabs a day from Victorian waters. This limit came into force last year and has been officially extended for 12 months.  

We’re glad the Victorian Fisheries Authority didn’t return the take to 30 crabs, but an extended reduction still doesn’t address the impacts of intensive harvesting. We’ll continue to advocate for a no-take break for these unique crustaceans.

In what reads as a pretty cynical act, the public consultation period was set from 24 December to 7 January. Scheduling the period in peak holiday season made it difficult for the public to have their say.

We hope in the future fisheries take the views of stakeholders and community more seriously.

In more good news, our push for funded research into Giant Spider Crabs has succeeded! The state government has committed to scientific research into crab habits and lifecycles in Port Phillip Bay.

The research, in partnership with Deakin University, the state environment department and the fisheries authority, will begin in 2022. Excitingly, the environment department will involve citizen science in its part of the project.

We’re very pleased with these initiatives, and stand by our position that until the research is completed, the harvesting of Spider Crabs during a vital part of their lifecycle should not be encouraged. 

As the crabs they make their way into the shallows again for another spectacular crabby aggregation event, we’ll keep you posted on what you can do to help protect this long-standing natural phenomenon.